Somebody once said we’re all selling something. When I was in the thrift store business, we were all selling anything.
If it arrived on a truck, in a garbage bag or spilling out of a box, we cleaned it up, figured out what it was or could possibly be, and sold it.
Because of our extraordinary success turning somebody’s junk into somebody else’s treasure, I want to share with you through real-life experiences the secrets to our success.
“A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist.” Franklin P. Jones
Always offer the customer a choice
Customer: What’s the story on the black refrigerator that just came in?
Me: It belonged to Elvis. I’ll sell it to you for $10,000, but you will probably make a million reselling it. I think we have an Elvis lampshade I can throw in, too.
It’s on sale for $100. I don’t know much about it, there’s a store credit if it doesn’t work, and it could have belonged to Elvis. Which story do you want?
Customer: I’ll take it for $100.
Close the deal
Let your customers know if they don’t buy it now, it won’t be available later. We were highly successful with this technique, which adds a certain level of panic and immediacy to the transaction.
Customer: I’m on my way to the hospital to take my husband to the emergency room, but I wanted to come here first and buy the bunk bed before it gets sold.
Me, peering outside: Is that your husband slumped in the car?
Customer: Yes, let’s get on with it. I’m in a hurry.
Build personal relationships with your customers
You can do this by sympathizing with their problems and offering sage advice.
Customer: My husband’s going to be upset when he sees all this stuff. He asked me to quit filling up the house with thrift store junk, and now I’m buying a small table, three floor lamps, a large artificial tree, two rolled carpets and a stationary exercise bike.
Me: Don’t let him see them. Walk into the house empty handed. Leave everything in the car until he is working, napping, getting a haircut or watching football. Be ready to seize this opportunity and work fast. Unload all your stuff and place it around the house as quickly as possible.
When he finally notices and inquires about one of your purchases, say, ‘That old thing? It’s been around for months! Is this the first time you’ve noticed it?’ He will be so worried about losing his memory that he won’t ask you about any of the other stuff.
Go the extra mile to ensure good customer service
Customer: I bought a bedroom set, but when I got it home the nightstand was missing.
Me: I’m writing you a store credit for ONE NIGHT STAND FREE.